Tuesday, August 29, 2006

OBXL

We just returned from a relaxing but far too short week of vacation in Avon, NC located on the Outer Banks. Weather was so-so the first few days (rainy, humid AMs and cloudy afternoons) but the last half of the week was stunningly perfect beach weather.

As far as eats, we only went back to one place we'd been to before, Austin Creek Grill which is all the way down at Hatteras Landing (where you can get the ferry to Ocracoke). This is our favorite restaurant on OBX and while it's not up to the standards they set a few years ago, it's the one meal I don't cook that I always look forward to.

This year I started with a Lobster and Shrimp Bisque while Chris sampled that and the Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder which I had, and loved, last year. We even have the recipe for it torn from the OBX newspaper so we can make it here at home. It's sweet and creamy, made with bacon and a bit of apple, but packed full of corn and crab. After just a taste I wished I'd had it again. Chris pulled a repeat and had the same penne, peas, prosciutto and shrimp in a vodka cream sauce that she had last year and with the same results. We took half home and had it for lunch the next day. I went for the blackened cobia (a thick, white firm fish) topped with lump crabmeat and served in a buerre blanc sauce. Creamy mashed potatoes, sauteed broccoli and a small piece of corn on the cob finished it off.

For dessert we shared a large piece of carrot cake (very good) and a huge portion of bread pudding topped with a sauce made from Southern Comfort. This was fantastic!

On our first night in town we tried Froggy Dog Cafe which was about what you'd expect from a long standing Hatteras eatery. Food was well above average but not particularly memorable. Crab puffs were golf ball sized and tasty, but not overpowering. A great homemade tartar sauce was the perfect accompaniment. Coconut shrimp were also quite tasty and served with a fruity dipping sauce that was a bit too sweet for my taste but Chris loved. Entrees of fried flounder and seafood au grautin were quite good and sized just right...

A Wednesday trek to Ocracoke was mostly a letdown. We sat for about two hours to get a ferry ride and discovered that unless you want to shop in "quaint" stores or eat there isn't much to do there. But, this being our fifth trip to the area, we felt obligated to check it out and say we'd gone.

Our lunch stop was at the ballyhooed Howard's Pub, but outside their beer selection (which includes the legendary Xingu: The Black Beer from Brazil) it was nothing special. Burgers were juicy but left little impression beyond that. My Carolina Burger was piled high with cole slaw but the evidence of "chili" was basically a couple red kidney beans peeking out from under my cheese. And, if you're going to hawk a "Carolina" burger, shouldn't it have something on it that actually comes to mind when you think of Carolina? Like BBQ? Chris's "blackened" burger was no such thing and their onion rings were pretty forgettable.

Our final eat out event was on our last night when we drove down to the Hatteras fire station for an old fashioned fish fry. $8 a platter brought you a couple nice sized pieces of battered fish deep fried in peanut oil, a handful of hush puppies, scoops of both potato salad (cool and chunky with a mustardy blast) and cole slaw (a bit watery but packed with cabbage and easy on the mayo), and a nice sized drink of sweet (or unsweet) tea. While I still can't believe they didn't have tartar or cocktail sauce, it was a well spent $16.

5 comments:

Maladjusted said...

We go to Southern Shores in the Outer Banks and every year make a point to eat at Miller's Restaurant. There is one at about MP 9 1/2 on the beach road and another soundside down on the main highway further south. It's your typical family place, but the fried flounder, fried oysters and fresh hushpuppies are amazing!

Dan said...

Thanks for the tip. A friend from Roguefood.com also mentioned Miller's and we'll have to make a note of it for next year. Glad we went the week we did, though... looks like Ernesto's pounding the area pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Try G&M restaurant in Linthicum Heights
http://www.gandmrestaurant.com/

Great crabcakes and prime rib.

Dan said...

No need to sell us on the benefits of G&M! Has been one of my favorite crabcake spots since I moved to MD about ten years ago. Heard they changed ownership in the last couple years, though. Haven't been in a couple years but must get back.

Anonymous said...

If you like good country fried chicken,
Tammy and Johnny's on Route 13 in Melva Virginia. Very reasonable, for less than $10 you get a couple pieces of chicken and cole slaw that is just right.

The fried chicken rivals Paul Deen's, and hers is pretty good.